In his speech at the banquet, given to celebrate the occasion, Stalin
expressed the hope that Poland, after the war, would be " greater and
stronger " than she had ever been.
Seven Moscow radio stations repeated Sikorski's speech and
played the Polish National anthem, before and after it. At Stalin's
personal order the text of the Polish-Russianc Declaration of Friendship *
was repeated in forty languages. Even in German, in order, as Molotov
stated to Sikorski," that Hitler should also have the pleasure of hearing
it." And yet that same evening the Soviet's Polish-speaking ' Kosciusz-
ko * station and the Ukraine-speaking * Shevtchenko * (named after a
well-known Ukraine poet) broadcast entirely different programmes—the
latter on the effect of the future Red Ukrainian rule in Polish Lwow.
That self-same night in Kuibyshev the N.K.V.D. arrested the leaders of
the Socialist Jewish Party of Poland's c Bund,' Erlich and Alter.
On December ist, 1941, just as Sikorski had arrived in the Soviet Union,
the Moscow Government sent a Note to the Polish Ambassador re-
affirming its e decree' of November 29th, 1939, whereby " all persons
domiciled in the Eastern half of Poland had become Russian citizens/'
Those specifically of Polish nationality only, were exempt. In other words,
those Polish citizens who had been residing in Polish territories in
November, 1939, and who belonged to the 'minorities,' Ukrainians,
White Ruthenians, Jews or Tartars, were simply proclaimed by Moscow
to be subjects of the U.S.S.R. Was this action intended as a test case ?
Sikorski's visit to Russia had merely smoothed over the edges of the
Kremlin's irritation and impatience regarding the rebuilding of the
Polish Army and towards the Polish problem in general, and it did not
prevent them beginning a propaganda campaign in an attempt to contact
the Polish people themselves independently of their Government. The
Polish Army, to the formation of which the Kremlin had given so little,
was reported in the Soviet propaganda to be an army of " one hundred and
fifty thousand " and " the greatest Allied Army abroad." At that time
the Polish Forces in Great Britain and the Middle East numbered forty-
Pravda, on December 6th, in its leading article entitledee Soviet-Polish
Declaration of friendship and mutual assistance ** underlined, " this
Declaration will be recorded in history as the struggle for the freedom of
man against German Fascist Imperialism ... it will be an example of an
unbreakable decision, the freedom-loving people united in the fight against
the bloody Hitler!" .
In London, the official Polish Press welcomed this Declaration with the
same enthusiasm. Sikorski was convinced that " the frank talks and the
signing of the Declaration of December 4th, a Declaration which was
dear, expressive and far-reaching, had dispersed the apparent anxiety
* Sikorski*s statement in Egyptian Press, November 13th.